Program Details

Vision To Action Community Gathering

with Susan Skjei & Anyana Banerjee
January 18 / 9:00 AM - January 19 / 12:00 PM

Shape the future of our Shambhala Center

Join our Vision-to-Action session

Saturday, January 18, 9-5 (lunch included) RSVP by Registering below

There will also be an optional Leadership Training on Sunday from 9am- noon

On Saturday, January 18 we will take the first steps to creating and implementing a vision for our center.  We will be guided by Acharya Susan Skjei with assistance from Anyana Banerjee (please see bios).

  • We will learn and practice skills in collaboration, conflict resolution and decision making that will strengthen our community’s ability to manifest enlightened society in our local center and the world

  • We will form work teams to address the major areas identified by community consensus as essential to our vision. These teams will meet over the next three months to develop recommendations that will be reported to the community in April.   

Please note: If you are unable to attend this community meeting on January 18, you are still welcome to join a team. We will post the team topics and meeting times both on the website and community bulletin boards after the meeting. Also, you are welcome to attend the session on January 18 whether or not you decide to join a team (although we hope you will).

What is Vision-to-Action?

Vision-to-Action (V2A) is a three-month action-oriented planning process we are implementing to prepare ourselves for the growth and expansion that is anticipated over the next few years.  It will begin with a day-long session on January 18, 2014 facilitated by Acharya Susan Skjei who has successfully led these processes in mid-sized centers over the last 5 years.  Anyana Banerjee from Atlanta will also assist with the overall process.  Please come with your ideas and inspiration!  In addition, there will be a Team Leader training session on Sunday morning from 9am- noon, which you are also invited to attend.

Why are we doing this?

We have identified 4 outcomes we hope for in the process:

  • Develop a clear vision and strategic priorities for the center

  • Implement a governance structure and decision making process based on the 3 pillars model

  • Increase the capacity of the community to manifest a “culture of kindness”

  • Skillfully engage the larger Atlanta community in creating enlightened society.

What will we do?

Community Building:  We will get to know each other in new ways using a variety of community building methods.  There will be a practice for listening to one another while each person states their aspiration for the V2A process.  We will be encouraged to have a conversation about a time in the past when we have been in a healthy community and what that experience was like for us.  There will be an opportunity to share our thoughts about what it takes to become a culture of kindness.

Visioning:  We will listen to the words of the Sakyong and his vision for our communities and our world. Then we will be led through a group visualization exercise of what the center might look like in 2018 if it were flourishing and manifesting enlightened society.  We will explore our visions as individuals, in small groups and in the larger group.  Then from the vantage point of 2018 we will look back and identify the strategic priorities that had enabled us to get to that fruition.  These will be recorded to see what larger topic and themes are emerging. 

Team Formation:  We will review the topics and themes and then divide up into small groups.  These groups will identify the current state of their topic, their desired future state and the questions that would need to be answered in order to move forward.  Action steps for the small groups and the overall process will be identified.

Follow up:  This session is only the beginning.  Team leaders will receive training and guidance and teams will meet over the next three months to prototype their ideas and develop recommendations. These will be presented to the council and to the community in late Spring. More details to follow!

Acharya Susan Skjei
(pronounced “shay”) is the director of the Authentic Leadership program at Naropa University and a founding member of the Authentic Leadership in Action (ALIA) Institute in Nova Scotia. She served on the Shambhala Board of Directors and was a vice-chair of the Mandala Council. Susan currently provides coaching and facilitation to Shambhala Centers, groups and organizations worldwide through her company, SaneSystems. She is also an Acharya (senior teacher) in the Shambhala tradition.

Anyana Banerjee has been a member of the Atlanta Shambhala Center since 2001 and has participated in various roles: coordinator, MI, AD, co-teacher, and a member on the Board of Directors. She worked with Susan Skjei over a 5 year period piloting leadership and mentoring development programs. Anyana recently earned her doctoral degree in the field of leadership and organizational development from the University of Georgia. Her dissertation, which involved facilitating over 30 sessions, was nominated for the 2014 Malcolm M Knowles Dissertation of the Year Award. Anyana recently completed the Scorpion Seal Year 1 retreat.

Sunday Leadership Training
In order to bring vision into action, we need to work together.  Teams enable us to get more done than we could as individuals and also provide an opportunity to practice creating a “culture of kindness” as we work.  This 3-hour session will provide a framework for leading and facilitating teams within the vision-to-action process, and can be applied to other areas of life and work as well.  Participants will learn the initial steps in forming a team, how to clarify roles, how to make decisions and work through disagreements and how to allocate tasks while creating an engaging and uplifted culture.   Whether or not you are a leader in the Atlanta Shambhala Center or in the vision-to-action process these skills can be helpful in your life and work.  If you are interested, please come.  

Description of the Vision to Action Process

Vision to Action (V2A) is a community building and strategic planning process for medium to large Shambhala Centers that has been successfully implemented in Chicago (2009-10) and Denver (2011-12), Davis (2013) and Atlanta (in process). It was developed by Susan Skjei in collaboration with President Reoch and local center leaders (including Alice Dan, David Stone, Fred Jabin and Jeffrey Stevens with facilitation support from Amy Conway, Gretchen Neve and Janet Solyntjes) and is based on principles and practices taught in the Governance Gatherings such as: 1) The Mandala Principal, 2) 3 Pillars Governance Model, 3) 6 ways of Ruling, 4) Creating a Culture of Kindness and 5) Cultivating Our Human and Financial Resources.

The V2A process provides practical hands-on training and support for leaders and gives them a flexible framework that they can utilize in current and future leadership roles. It begins with an experiential community workshop (usually held over a weekend) that blends teaching with contemplative exercises designed to engage the community in creating a shared vision and designating action teams to begin working on key initiatives identified in the vision. Ongoing teams are formed and continue to meet bi-weekly for the next 3-4 months to research, experiment, prototype and develop recommendations. Coaching and training are provided to team leaders (by SKYPE or conference call).


The teams then present their recommendations to the community for comments during another weekend session, and to the center’s governing body for approval and resource allocation. The governing body determines the level of support for each team or project and links them to the appropriate pillar of government. Progress is reviewed on a quarterly basis. The V2A process is particularly helpful when a center wants to mobilize for growth or just before or after a new director has been appointed.

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